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Poppy Ajudha

Singer/songwriter Poppy Ajudha favors "alternative pop" as a way to describe her evolving sound. It's an undeniably soulful, R&B-rooted mix that has incorporated styles ranging from contemporary jazz to drum'n'bass, and from Afrobeat to left-field rock, with lyrics regarding romance, mental health, liberation, and other sociopolitical issues. The South East London native's discography -- almost entirely self-released -- includes the 2018 EPs Femme and Patience, the 2022 album The Power in Us, and an assortment of singles. Ajudha's range has been further demonstrated on songs such as Tom Misch's "Disco Yes" and Moses Boyd's "Shades of You," both of which she co-wrote and fronted. Introduced to classic R&B, reggae, and other sounds that filled her South East London household, Ajudha started singing and writing in her youth. She took her early interest to an academic level, earning a BA Social Anthropology and Music degree at SOAS University of London. Ajudha made her commercial debut in 2015 with "David's Song," released on the Indigo Soul label with a remix from labelmate Tom Misch. She returned in 2017 as a fully independent artist with "Love Falls Down," a single selected later that year for inclusion on the Brownswood Bubblers Twelve compilation, released by BBC DJ Gilles Peterson's Brownswood Recordings. Femme and Patience, Ajudha's first two EPs, were issued in 2018, with highlights such as the heady "Tepid Soul," the Kojey Radical collaboration "Spilling into You," and the acoustic ballad "When You Watch Me" all eclipsing seven-digit streaming figures. Even more successful that year was Misch's "Disco Yes," a breezy throwback single that landed on Barack Obama's "Favorite Songs of 2018" list. During the next three years, Ajudha was active with singles like "Devil's Juice" and the Mahalia collaboration "Low Ride" -- between which the U.K. digital radio station Jazz FM named Ajudha the Best Soul Act of 2019 -- as well as the self-produced "Black Joy. Black Peace. Black Justice." and "Weakness." Also over this period, she was featured on Moses Boyd's "Shades of You," off the drummer's Mercury Prize-nominated album Dark Matter, and took part in the Blue Note Re:Imagined project with "Watermelon Man (Under the Sun)," an update of Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man" with a positive lyrical message. Ajudha's last release of 2021 was "London's Burning," a critique of British colonization and Brexit. It became the lead single of her first album, The Power in Us, offered in April 2022.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo


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